Breakaway - Hot Choice [ Peira - 2011]
This CD is a strong improv ensemble release with a striking mix of electronics and percussion from the Chicago-based Peira label.
Primarily comprised of Moog, drums, and modular synth—a handful of cuts switch the Paul Giallorenzo’s Moog for piano—“Hot Choice” presents an egalitarian blend of squelchy blurts, drum scrapes, clattering noises, and all manner of percussive sounds in between. For the second track, “You Have My Full Attention,” distorted whistling and cymbal clatter find a niche between low-bitrate rushes of noise (not unlike a half-broken mic cable) erupting in a cacophony of half-silenced crashes, scratchings, and what sounds like a small Chinese gong. Like Giallorenzo’s better-known jazz outfit, it gets in and gets out. While it would be difficult to describe any of the cuts as particularly low-key—a degree of restlessness pervades the album—it is a pleasure to find Breakaway more than capable of producing a wide dynamic of energy, from the aforementioned scree of “You Have My Full Attention” to the more comparatively contemplative feeling of “A Thousand Angles,” where the opening’s high-pitched tones, low ground fault humps, and scraped brush work bring to mind scratchy records played on a third-world electric grid. It’s a great feeling, hearing a track like this progress—not merely rolling along the rails by gimmickry— but to succeed in the capable hands of three fellows who share the obvious awareness that misstep will find no safety net below.
At just over thirty minutes, it’s an album that flies along far too quickly, but happily leaves the listener willing to do it all again.